After five quarterfinal fights, the competition has taken a physical toll on the UFC hopefuls. Jason Pierce‘s foot is screwed up from kicking Steve Berger’s ass so hard in the elimination round. Richie Whitson has an infection on his face that’s NOT HERPES. David Faulkner has an infection in his leg after epically failing during a sledge/tire exercise. Cameron Dollar contracts a bad case of crybabybitch-itis. But the show must go on, and these ragged warriors must pull themselves together. Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter featured the TUF 9 coaches’ challenge, another lightweight battle, and no less than two complete mental breakdowns. Let’s get to it…
Team U.S. lightweight Richie Whitson has caught a nasty-looking baterial infection on his face, and Jason Pierce is completely freaked out. "I will not hesitate to put a stake through your heart," Pierce says, spraying disinfectant over every inch of the house. "That shit scares me." Later in a confessional, he says "it’s tough when you encounter something new and foreign." Infections, British people — it’s a little too much to handle for JP, who now speaks with a faraway, beaten sound in his voice. He’s cracking. He’s also in serious agony from a foot injury, which doesn’t bode well as he’ll eventually be facing foot-lock expert David Faulkner. "Walk it off," says Dr. Dan Henderson after a clash during practice leaves Pierce doubled over in pain.
Meanwhile in the Team U.K. camp, Michael Bisping brings out some exotic training equipment — a sledge-hammer and a tire — which the guys have clearly never seen before. The hammer goes into the mats, into the floor, into Faulkner’s leg, pretty much everywhere but the tire. Faulkner’s hammer-injury makes his leg swell up with infection, negating his health-advantage over Pierce.
Speaking of Pierce, the dude is going full psycho. He gets pissy with his coaches (who can’t stand him at this point), drinks water like a crazy person, and quits practice after a group pep talk from Cyrille Diabate about negativity that was pretty much directed at him. Jason’s teammates like him even less than his coaches. They congregate in a downstairs room, dubbed "The Bash Room," to vent about him. Jason Dent and Jason Pierce bond over the fact that they’re not shit-talkers (or the fact that nobody likes them, whichever).
The coaches’ challenge is often a highlight of each season of TUF — but not so much this time. The game is tennis, which Henderson kind of sucks at, and Bisping has never played. After Dana shows off the cardboard box full of cash, Ultimate Wimbledon begins. Bisping gets ruined, 6-2. "Stick your tennis up your ass," he says. "I’ll see you on July 11. We’ll do it like men." Bisping is also salty about Damarques Johnson‘s trash-talk during the game, and tells his welterweights that one of them better shut Damarques’s big mouth, or he’ll have to do it himself.
With fight selections back to the Redcoats, Bisping picks Ross Pearson vs. Richie "Flying Herpnado" Whitson, giving Faulkner more time to recover. We learn a little more about Richie. He’s a commercial fisherman from Alaska, and trains at Team Quest, so he hasn’t had to adjust to new coaches like the other guys.
That night, following a drinking binge, Cameron freaks out. He starts crying about missing his family and wanting to go home so he can pay some bills. "I wish I had a better relationship with my parents," he says. (LOL pussy!) Cyrille and Frank Lester do their best to chill him out, but Cameron could probably use a professional therapist.
Ross Pearson becomes the first Brit to show emotion on the show, choking up as he discusses how much he wants to fight in the UFC. His team is confident that he’ll be the better fighter. In practice, Bisping advises him not to brawl; the gameplan is for Ross to keep his hands tight, and get in and out.
Richie gets off first during the fight, popping some kicks and landing an elbow in a clinch. Ross returns fire, throwing a kick that blows Richie’s hair back, then scores a takedown. Richie quickly gets up. Ross charges forward with punches, landing a few, then clocks Richie with a knee. Ross scores another takedown, but then throws a knee into Richie’s face while his knees were down, prompting Herb Dean to jump in and deduct a point. Richie’s a tough kid and doesn’t seem too affected by the illegal blow.
When the action is resumed, Bisping shouts at Ross to let his hands go because Richie is scared. After some wild exchanges, Ross slams Richie to the mat, lands a knee while Richie is getting up, and slams Richie down again, immediately taking his back. Ross is too high on Richie’s back to set up a choke, but when Richie tries to slip out, Ross pounces on Richie’s arm and pulls off a rather-brilliant armbar submission. It’s now 4-2 Team U.K., and the two Jasons are the Americans’ only hope of evening the score. God help them.